International desk – The US and allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have agreed to pull out their troops from Afghanistan in 14 months subject to the Taliban uphold a peace deal signed between the US and the Islamic group.
The Taliban, a Sunni fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan, has agreed not to continue the fight against the US and its allies.
The agreement was signed in Qatar on Saturday aimed at paving the way towards peace in Afghanistan after more than 18 years of conflict, according to BBC.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Taliban leaders attended the signing ceremony in Doha. Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are due to follow.
The militants agreed to stop attacks and not allow al-Qaeda to operate in the areas they control, according to the deal.
The US invaded Afghanistan weeks after the September 2001 attacks by the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda group.
More than 2,400 US troops have been killed during the conflict. About 12,000 are still stationed in the country. President Trump has promised to put an end to the conflict.
Qatar has hosted Taliban leaders who have moved there to discuss peace in Afghanistan since 2011. A Taliban office was opened in 2013, and closed the same year amid rows over flags. Other attempts at talks stalled.
In December 2018, the militants announced they would meet US officials to try to find a “roadmap to peace”. But the hard-line Islamist group continued to refuse to hold official talks with the Afghan government, whom they dismissed as American “puppets”.
Following nine rounds of US-Taliban talks in Qatar, the two sides seemed close to an agreement.
In September Washington announced that the US would pull out 5,400 troops from Afghanistan within 20 weeks as part of a deal agreed “in principle” with Taliban militants.
Days later, the US President Donald Trump said the talks were “dead”, after the group killed a US soldier. But within weeks the two sides resumed discussions behind the scenes.
A week ago the Taliban agreed to a “reduction of violence” – although Afghan officials say at least 22 soldiers and 14 civilians have been killed in Taliban attacks over that period, according to the broadcaster.